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It seems most peculiar; yes, rather strange – That a bird, on a bitter branch might remain And more joyfully in winter months, long, Sing an elaborate, even a beautiful song. But such a bird is this one who can write, Who can attest that even though dark as night, His maker has given him a songbook of praise, To endure as a joyful sound, all days that remain.

What you are holding is a songbook. It is a different kind of songbook, for it was birthed in the darkest of night and the coldest of winter. And while it is readily in itself an instrument of praise, it also provides a foundation for other song-makers, or, shall we say, those who receive songs from God Most High. For who can sing unless God himself provides song?

This is a book for sufferers. It is for those who are enduring affliction or those who just have air filling their lungs from time to time (recognizing that all will invariably suffer). This is a book for those with questions. It is for those who wonder what God (if there is one) is doing as they sit on a branch that scrapes them endlessly with rough and bitter bark. The branch is aflame, crumbling underneath, and ready to give way. How can we find song in such a tormenting and uncertain darkness? How can we be as the rare bird who actually finds reason for song in winter?

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